Dear Annie: I’m at a stage in my life where personal growth has taken hold in the absence of my husband. My husband is still here and alive, but he frequently travels for work, and I am often left to my own devices for days at a time as a stay-at-home mom of two young boys. I’ve taken to calling these days “idle time,” as if the engine of our marriage is sitting and idling while he’s gone.
This idle time has left me with ample time for self-reflection and personal growth, and I have found myself becoming ambivalent about my marriage and my husband. I do love him and miss him when he’s away, but often I find myself annoyed with him when he is home. I sometimes wish he were on the road again as he interrupts our routines and takes back the house.
I fantasize about doing this on my own, since that’s basically what I do anyway Monday through Friday, 16-20 weeks out of the year. On the flip side, while I enjoy my “me time,” I do not enjoy the chaos of two little boys on my own and appreciate when I have him home to help, as we have no family in our area to help.
I don’t hate him, and I’m not desperately unhappy, and I feel like divorce is a very severe reaction to just being “meh” about this relationship. He’s looking into a new job that would be 100% remote, which might help the situation. Our marriage was stronger than ever during the first 18 months of the pandemic, maybe because he was working from home. Can someone just feel blah about a relationship for a while without taking drastic measures? Or should we divorce so I can get away from a blah marriage? — Divorce Ambivalent
Dear Divorce Ambivalent: Feeling blah about a marriage is not a reason to get a divorce, but it is a reason to explore ways you can feel more jazzed up or excited about your marriage. Having young children at home and a husband who is working a lot and traveling can certainly be stressful. Sometimes, when our needs are not being met, we shut down and start to have a blah feeling. The best thing you can do for yourself is to talk to your husband honestly. Try to remember the good feelings you had when he was home during the pandemic. Whatever you did then, do some of those things together as a family and separately as a couple.
You are feeling lonely, which is understandable, and instead of dealing with those feelings, you are blaming him and looking for the eject button. Talking to him about your feelings will help alleviate a lot of the confusion in your mind. I’m sure he misses you and the boys a lot when he is away at work. Communication is key. If you have trouble communicating directly, you could also seek the help of a professional marriage counselor.
Remind yourself that the blah feeling won’t last forever and that with the right amount of help, you can start living your life filled with joy and sparks.
“How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology — featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]